France’s Danone, the world’s largest yoghurt maker, plans to switch one of its big French factories to plant-based drinks next year in a bet on fast-growing non-dairy milk alternatives.
Danone said in a statement on Wednesday it will invest 43 million euros ($49 million) in 2022 to convert its Villecomtal-sur-Arros dairy plant in southern France into a production site of mainly oat-based drinks for its Alpro brand.
This follows a 16.5 million euro investment this year in its Alpro plant in Issenheim, eastern France.
Danone, owner of the Evian water and Activia yoghurt brands, said the French market for plant-based foods has tripled in seven years and should grow another 50% by 2025.
“We observe consumers’ interest in plant-based recipes, which are a simple solution for those who want a more varied and diversified diet,” Danone France’s François Eyraud said.
The factory will be converted in the autumn of 2022 and make its first Alpro-branded drinks from the second quarter of 2023.
Danone acquired Alpro in 2017 via its $12.5 billion acquisition of U.S. organic food producer WhiteWave as it tried to capitalise on healthier eating trends.
In February, Danone agreed to buy U.S. plant based foods specialist Earth Island, in a deal that would help it reach a target of generating 5 billion euros ($6.1 billion) of plant-based sales worldwide by 2025.
Source : Reuters : 17th Nov 2021